An imminent Biden visit to the Middle East has raise Israeli hopes for the expansion of normalization treaties. Biden administration has made no comments on the possibility.
Israeli minister of foreign affairs stated that Tel Aviv is looking forward to US Vice President’s upcoming visit to the region in July. Yair Lapid hopes that the visit would serve to enhance ties with Riyadh, with which Israel has no formal relationships.
Lapid, nevertheless, failed to base his hopeful remarks on logical or formal observations or evidences. He relied the possibility on “the fact that the president’s going to fly directly from here to Saudi Arabia” and said it ” is probably signifying that there is a linkage between the visit and the ability to improve relations.”
The White House announced on Tuesday that Biden will go to the Middle East for the first time next month. Biden will travel to Israel and the West Bank, followed by a visit to Saudi Arabia, which he has described as a “pariah” state.
In an apparent shift of policy in US administration, the Joe Biden is due to meet Saudi Crown Prince in Riyadh. President Biden has slammed Mohammed bin Salman, who has been connected to the assassination of WP columnist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. Bin Salman continues to reject any engagement.
Leaders in Tel Aviv have long expressed a desire to strengthen ties with Arab nations. The Arab world, in return, has demanded that Israel depart completely from the Palestinian lands it captured during 1967 war. This, they believe, would facilitate the smooth process of normalization.
Israel has previously made diplomatic relations with a series of Arab countries including the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, Bahrain, and Sudan. The measure was made possible under the lobbies and pressures by former US president.
Biden, Bin Salman, and Bennet
There is no formal political connection between Tel Aviv and Riyadh. However, a common hostility against regional rivals has led to covert security links between the two countries. There has been a long-time speculation that it is one of the Arab regimes considering establishing direct relations with Tel Aviv.
Former American Secretary of State has previously encouraged Saudi Arabia to recognize Israel. Mike Pompeo believes it would make a significant contribution to the common agenda for what he claimed to have been regional peace and stability.
Salman bin Abdulaziz, the official king of Saudi Arabia has always been a defender of Palestinian rights. The Saudi kingdom has long wished for Palestinians to form separate and powerful entity in Gaza, Jerusalem, and West Bank.
The development to a full diplomatic relation with Israel is contingent on a two-state solution, according to the monarchy. Riyadh thinks the deal will put an end to the Palestinians’ seven-decade struggle. Israeli blatant breaches of Palestine entity and its claim on land continue to be condemned by Saudi Arabian main leaders.
Riyadh has permitted planes between Israel and Arab countries to pass via its sky in the years. This sign of goodwill signifies that some rare Saudi leaders, among them the de-facto ruler, are willing to facilitate the way to the normalization. Fearing from the potential breakout of public rage, Riyadh has kept postponing the decision in recent years.
Bahrain, Sudan, and UAE have experienced such public responses following signing peace deal with Israel. Public protests, strikes, and potential eruption of violence are not desirable consequences for Bin Salman and his advisers in Riyadh.
The upcoming visit by Joe Biden might not change the normalization pretext for Saudi Arabia. Bin Salman needs a local solution, one that keeps his throne safe.